We went hiking in Yosemite this past weekend and I took plenty of pictures of the park in the Fall.
I had been to the park once before in the summer and I really appreciated going there in the crisp autumn weather. We tried to cover as much ground as we could in the valley ranging from strenuous hikes up steep, climbing trails to riverside walks throughout the lower valley.
We were only there for the weekend and our activities can be broken down into the two days.
On arrival Saturday morning we eventually found parking (get there early) and set out on the Nevada Falls trail adjacent to the towering Half Dome rockface. This was our more strenuous hike and it took nearly 2 hours to climb its steep trail.
The climb was long but satisfying as we breathed the cool Fall air and watched the waterfall that paralleled our path. When we finished our ascent I was surprised to see that the top of the mountain was rich with vegetation, in contrast to the barren rock that had dominated our surroundings during our ascent.
There was a beautiful pond that was fed by a stream and drained into the waterfall that we had seen as we walked up and many people were taking photos and stopping for food at the top of the trail.
Looking out on the valley beneath us I appreciated the beautiful medley of reds and yellows that adorned the trees speckled across the park. The cool autumn air and the colors of the fall were a welcome addition compared to my past experience at the park in the hot early summer.
After resting up and taking in the sites we descended the mountain following a different path and headed back to our car. We were staying at a motel at the outskirts of the park where we grabbed dinner, played cards and called it a night.
After our long, strenuous hike the day prior, we decided to get an early start and spend time exploring the valley, foregoing anymore long climbs. The morning was cool and the sun was rising when we started with little activity throughout the park. With so few people in the park there were many deer along the trail that morning. We must have seen over 15 deer dispersed along our way and they seemed accustomed to humans, willing to get almost an arm’s reach away from us as they passed us on the trail.
We then made our way over to the Mirror Lake hike, named after a shining blue pond that reflected the morning sun on the nearby mountains in mirror-like effectiveness. It was a beautiful trail, although the lake’s water levels were very low and many of the areas that would normally be flooded were dry.
The walk took several hours and by midday the valley had warmed up under the blue skies and shining sun. While much of the trek up the Nevada Falls trail the day before was focused on the climb itself, this hike was much slower pace and allowed us to really appreciate the redwoods and rock formations that we were walking through. By the end of the hike we were satisfied with our time in the valley, having tried most trails, and we prepared to head home. We stopped at a vista called Inspiration Point on our way out of the park and then continued home, arriving in the evening.
I really enjoyed the trip and will remember those two days at Yosemite for many more to come. To see some of our highlights from the weekend you can checkout my latest photos on Unsplash.